I'm in the middle of a script right now. A spec. So I can do bendy writing. It started off as a one hour pilot. I did my usual beat sheet, and after all this time I can tell to within half a dozen pages how long the script will be from the number and content of the beats.
But it never pans out that way. Not in a spec. See on a commission the page count is paramount. Maybe not so much in the early drafts but at shooting script most definitely. And you really don't want to be chopping 10 pages for the shooting script.
But as I'm writing the spec, well....... things occur to me. Scenes I had down as two pages can become four. Characters dictate different choices as you get to know them. The story becomes bigger or more twisty. Lots of reasons. And as this is a spec I'm just running with it. Because I don't think it hurts the story I'm writing. On the contrary. the story is dictating the length.
So with my bendy writing hat on, I'm nixing the idea of a one hour pilot and making it either a stand alone Two Parter or a two hour pilot.
Don't be afraid to be flexible. The story will tell you what the length should be and that isn't always apparent from the outset. For spec TV, Bendy writing is your friend! Because note that any producer now has two bites of the cherry when trying to sell to the networks. The pilot or the stand alone.
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5 years ago